VIP in the Press

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Each year, as we step into Women’s History Month, philanthropy around issues of gender, including women and gender nonconforming people, comes sharply into focus. We read pieces and release data about shrinking funding and interventions, and then, more or less, move on until the next calendar milestone reminds us to pay heed.
More than 12 million American men and women a year are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. As the coronavirus pandemic has forced many families to shelter in place over the last 18 months, the numbers of domestic violence and child abuse cases have skyrocketed at an outsized pace.
Margarita es una superviviente, pobre e indocumentada que vive desde hace 14 años en Nueva York. La pandemia hizo tambalear su vida y la de su hija, justo en el momento en el que creía que empezaba a superar las secuelas que la violencia machista había marcado a fuego en lo más profundo de su ser.
In light of the recent allegations of domestic abuse surrounding actor Shia Labeouf, we take a look at resources for those facing intimate partner violence during this pandemic. Margarita Guzmán, executive director of the Violence Intervention Program, joins us to discuss the Latina-led organization’s 36-year history providing services to address domestic abuse and family violence in the New York area. VIP currently provides services to over 10,000 New York State residents. Guzmán joins us to discuss what services VIP offers, signs for friends and family members to pay attention to, and the impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence in the city, specifically on immigrant communities.
They are Domestic Violence Survivors called Promotoras when translated into English means Promoters, now giving back to the community here along Mount Eden Mall as a way to bring attention to October when the nation recognizes Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Council Member Vanessa Gibson at a press conference thanked ten agencies for their work to help victims further challenged, due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Rates of reporting domestic violence are low in immigrant communities, where survivors of abuse often don’t want to involve the police. As an alternative, the de Blasio administration promised to fund community-based domestic violence programming—but those funds were delayed, and advocates fear programs with strong community ties may not meet the city’s requirements.
The communities that we serve — mostly immigrant families in New York City — have been hit the hardest by both illness and financial devastation. Victims of domestic and sexual violence have suffered another layer of brutality during this time. We know that domestic and sexual violence are spiking, even as reports have drastically declined over the last two months.
The statewide shutdown order on March 22 effectively marooned survivors of continuing abuse amid an already deadly public health crisis. The groups that advocate for them have seen signs of escalating conditions as scores of people were forced out of work and into their homes, where several forms of violence, from the physical to psychological, have festered in mass isolation.
Each day, Karla Mejia hits the streets of New York City to help people. She is the community organizer for the Violence Intervention Program, a group that supports victims of domestic violence. Despite the pandemic, and the ensuing lockdown, her goal is to go out where people are gathered, at the overcrowded food banks, the bus stops, the ATM lines with one message: help is there, if you need it.
Domestic violence experts around the country braced for an increase in abuse at the start of the coronavirus pandemic: The crisis had the disruptive markings of a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, when domestic violence reports nearly doubled, with economic effects similar to those of the Great Recession, when rates of intimate partner violence surged across the country.
Domestic violence counselors are facing a range of challenges in using telehealth services to stay in touch with survivors who may be stuck with their abusers during COVID-19 lockdown.
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